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Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Friends of Jordanian Children Queen Rania launches The Friends of Jordanian Children and the Call for Action

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Amman) Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah asserted that all segments of society have a role to play in enhancing child welfare, and that each member of the community must take it upon themselves to raise the level of childhood development in Jordan.

"All segments of society have the capacity to take part in raising the level of childhood. We in Jordan take pride in having been able to establish a strong partnership between the active sectors in various social fields.

We all recognize that we have a role to play, and that we must take it upon ourselves to promote the standard of childhood development in Jordan," Queen Rania said at the launch ceremony of The Friends of Jordanian Children and the Call for Action.

The Friends of Jordanian Children is the local chapter of the Global Movement for Children, which is committed to ensuring the security, dignity and self-fulfillment of every child across the globe.

With Nelson Mandela and Graca Machel, Queen Rania is part of the Leadership Initiative advocating for the Movement and stimulating the participation of political leaders across the world.

The Call for Action urges the private sector to play a role in the enhancement of children's issues. Stressing that now is the time to chart a new vision for children, the Queen said at the launching ceremony which was organized by UNICEF in partnership with the Jordan River Foundation, that the world must assess its progress regarding the development of child welfare.

"We stand today at the threshold of a crucial stage at the beginning of the new millennium. The world surrounding us witnesses growing and continuing change," Queen Rania said.

"We are required to chart a new vision for the future of our children, by tapping into our experience in this field over the past decade since the 1990 World Summit for Children.

We should learn from the success stories we have witnessed, as well as from the challenges we have faced in our efforts to ensure children's rights as declared in the Convention on the Rights of the Child," she added.

The Friends of Jordanian Children, which is the first grouping of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa Region, brings together a multi-sectoral group of leading figures in Jordanian society, representing governmental and non-governmental organizations, members of parliament, and representatives of the banking sector and business associations.

These influential members are to act as advocates for the enhancement of children's issues in Jordan. Speaking on behalf of the Friends of Jordanian Children, Senator Laila Sharaf said that the coalition will work on two issues in the short term: the Call for Action, inaugurated by Queen Rania along with the launching of the Friends of Jordanian Children, and a campaign to collect one million signatures, starting on April 19, to vote for 10 imperative actions necessary for improving the lives of children and youth.

The signatures will be presented at the United Nations Special Session for Children in September 2001 in New York, which Queen Rania is expected to attend, along with other world leaders.

he Senator said that in the long term, the coalition will work to raise public awareness about children's issues, to ensure that legislation pertaining to the welfare of children is ratified, and to encourage the discussion of children's issues in parliament and among judicial authorities.

Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb, Minister of Planning Dr. Jawad Hadid said that Jordan has come a long way in addressing children's issues since the 1990 World Summit for Children.

He cited the integration of orphans and physically handicapped children in society and schools. He also mentioned the establishment of the National Teams for Family Safety and Early Childhood Development--initiatives of the Queen--as examples of the attention paid by Jordan to children's issues.

The Global Movement for Children has three main components: early childhood development, quality basic education, and adolescence.

"The year 2001 is very special. It is the year in which every country in the world submitted a review of the achievements of the last 10 years since the 1990 World Summit for Children," said UNICEF Representative to Jordan, Ms. Misrak Elias.

It is also a year in which the UN Special Session for Children will be held in September. Then, governments will commit themselves to a vision and action for children for the next decade.

Through the Global Movement for Children, every member of society will join the governments in making commitments for children. Children and youth themselves will have a say in their future," she added.